Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Was Washington a self-made man or a man of privilege? Justify your answer.
What were Washington's reasons for supporting the movement for independence?
Was Washington a better military leader or political leader? Justify your answer.
Suggested Essay Topics
When Washington resigned his command of the Continental Army, Jefferson said: "The moderation and virtue of one man probably prevented this Revolution from being closed by a subversion of the liberty it was intended to establish." Yet when Washington became president, Jefferson believed he was too conservative. Did Washington ultimately preserve or limit the spread of liberty in America?
How did Washington's vision of America differ from that of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson?
Why do you think there are no political leaders like Washington today? Be sure to support your argument with historical facts.
Of the acts for which Washington is considered a hero–leading the army in the Revolutionary War, resigning his command after the war, leading the nation as president, freeing his slaves upon his death, and so on–which do think is the most important? Why?
Which did Washington value more, stability or democracy? Justify your answer.
Later in life Washington admitted that if the North and South should ever split in two he would join the North. Why do you think he said this? Support your answer with evidence from his life.
Discuss Washington's notion of duty. Is it obsolete?
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